Saturday, March 04, 2006
Slightly OT: Four LA Things
Four Jobs I've Had in my Life in L.A.:
- Data wrangler, physical inventory taker, and wearer-of-all-hats for a (now-defunct) business that serviced car dealership parts departments. A really interesting gig that literally took me inside the car business; if car buyers knew how rigged that game is, they'd probably shriek, but the dealers got the laws changed early in the last century and now it's too late, as all the states have the same corrupt practices enshrined in the books.
- F/A-18 flight simulator hacker for (the again defunct -- sense a trend here?) Hughes Aircraft Corporation and its successor corporations. Nothing like a day o' shootin' simulated commies out of the sky!
- Rail control system hacker for a company now known as the transportation division of Arinc. In other words, I might be responsible for keeping Matt Welch from getting to work. You're welcome, Matt.
- First geek in the door at my presently green and purple-themed employer. If you have a chance to work for a small startup, I recommend it highly, with the provisos that (a) your bosses are ethical and have good business sense, and (b) your co-workers are competent and hard-working. That both the above have been true should tell you how lucky I've been.
- LA Confidential
- Blade Runner
- LA Story
Trick question: I've never lived in LA proper. Here's the pro forma answers of places I have lived near the LA Metroplex:
- Torrance -- not a food memory so much as the Worst Waitress in the World story, the short version of which is that our group of four took about two hours to get our cold, burnt, breakfast at the (now disappeared) Denny's on the corner of 182nd and Crenshaw. We left our fat, ugly, surly, hairy waitress a penny tip. She came out and threw it at us as we drove off.
- Lawndale -- I seem to recall a decent Chinese eatery around the corner from our house, but I lived there less than a year.
- Hermosa Beach -- probably Thai Top and the now-extinct Big Wok were the best two restaurants in town.
- Garden Grove (until they blast me out of here or I get sick of driving up to Wilshire every day) -- the little family-owned Japanese place Taiyo is probably the best non-chain eatery local to me, else we're at Mimi's. Taco Surf at all their locations also rocks, and has the added benefit of being cheap.
- Boomtown: Sure, they fell in love a little too much with the Tarantinian asynchronous-storytelling gag, but Neil McDonough's all-too-believably cynical DA was the real star of this show, and one of the best characters on TV in the last decade.
- When I was a kid, Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency, but seeing even a couple minutes of any of these shows now reminds me just how awful Jack Webb was as a writer and director. True story: Kent McCord bought the citrus farm down the street from my grandmother in Fallbrook.
- The Rockford Files: Friday nights at my house meant going to the supermarket with mom. It also meant Swanson TV dinners, which we ate while watching Jim Rockford chase down (or get chased by) some bad guys while trying to squeeze useful info from Angel by bribe or by the fist. Every now and then I'll still watch an episode.
Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily:
Four of my Favorite Foods Found in LA:
- Mexican generally, although I've become a little bit of a snob these days, turning up my nose at yellow-cheese-and-beans places like I used to eat at when I was a kid. It's a good, sturdy cuisine that takes a lot of abuse elsewhere. Back in the 90's, after spending time in Germany, Virginia, and Florida, I formulated a rule: never eat Mexican in any state that doesn't actually border Mexico. With the rise of regional cuisine and more thorough migration of Mexicans throughout the country, it may actually be safe to eat Sonoran snacks as far north as Chicago.
- Sushi, and amazingly, my wife is now the one who wants to go get Japanese.
- Big, sloppy-ass burgers. In-N-Out is still the cholesterol king of this category, despite their limp, greasy, but puzzlingly well-regarded fries. Can't do more than one or two of these a year anymore, though.
Worst burger ever: Quick 'N' Split, probably no longer operating under that name, in Inglewood around Manchester and La Cienega. The burger had so much grease it literally burst through the bottom of the sack.
- LA-style hot dogs with multicolored peppers.
Aside from the commute, I like where I am. So I'll say the Westside or Culver City area and take a pass.
Four People To Plague With Furthering This Harrassment
Because I know there's zero chance of them doing this:
- Jon Weisman
- Rich Lederer
- Richard or Josh, the latter counting now only as an honorary Angeleno, if not before moving to the Badger State
- ... and the Chronicler.
The best Mexican food in L.A. County is at Babita in San Gabriel, on San Gabriel Blvd. They do a Chiles en Nogada that will blow you away.
personally, i like taco mesa (in tustin or orange i think) and alerto's in westminster (there are 2 locations on brookhurst). alerto's is the place to go for a straightforward, no-BS carne asada that's really good and very authentic.
Wahoo's and Baja Fish Tacos are the best for fish tacos in the O.C. (if you prefer grilled to deep fried).